Bloggers on reconciling the desired Delta with the possible, the State Water Board, Sites Reservoir, SWP allocation, groundwater rules, and more …

Birds in a tree in the Delta sliderbox21st century Delta: Reconciling the desired with the possible:  Steven Culberson writes, “Estuaries are hard places to understand and even harder to explain. Estuarine scientists, myself included, have struggled to learn how changes in the San Francisco Estuary led to declining fish populations and waning productivity, particularly in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  We keep searching for what is broken or missing so we can fix or replace it. The thinking is that if we can return or repair these parts of the ecosystem, native aquatic species will recover sufficiently to be resilient in the future. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  21st century Delta: Reconciling the desired with the possible

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Water board chief admits he was wrong:  Dan Bacher writes, “It is rare when a public official admits when he/she does something wrong. It’s even rarer when a state water official serving the administration of Governor Jerry Brown admits they did something wrong.   But that’s exactly what happened in Sacramento on Wednesday, February 18, when Tom Howard, executive director of the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), the controversial agency overseeing California water, claimed he was “mistaken” last year when he approved emergency actions that harmed imperiled Delta smelt, Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon and other fish species.  … ”  Read more from Dan Bacher here:  Water board chief admits he was wrong

Keeping up with the State Water Resources Control Board:  “We did our best to follow the testimony in the public workshop on the Temporary Change Urgency Petitions submitted for the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. Translation: trying to figure out why so much water is targeted for smelt versus people. One of the first things we noticed was how many agencies and how much time is devoted to trying to figure out what makes the smelt tick. It seems no one really knows. No one can give any definitive testimony that all the water we devote to the smelt is doing them any good. Nevertheless, we keep doing it anyway. ... ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Keeping up with the  State Water Resources Control Board

DWR quantifies the benefits of Sites Reservoir in a drought year:  “The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has a new webpage on North of Delta Off-stream Storage (Sites Reservoir) that outlines the benefits Sites Reservoir would provide in a drought year like we experienced in 2014.  This off-stream regulating reservoir also has significant compounding value when integrated with other facilities. ... ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association blog here:  DWR quantifies the benefits of Sites Reservoir in a drought year

What will be the final SWP allocation for 2015? Rodney Smith writes, “How does 21% sound, which would be a 40% increase over the current 15% allocation declared by the Department of Water Resources?  While “more is better”, Californians cannot rejoice.  Due to the natural variability in precipitation, there is a 9% chance that the final SWP Allocation may be zero!  No, Hydrowonk is not using an Ouija board. Instead, these forecasts are based on a study of the historic record of SWP final allocations.  This year’s version is slightly different than the model used last year to forecast SWP Final Allocations for 2014. … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  What will be the final SWP allocation for 2015?

A fable that ought to sound familiar:  ““Write it for the plumber in Manteca,” an editor told me a few years back, late on a Friday afternoon, after a judge overturned one of the biological opinions protecting endangered fish in the Delta.  Ever since then, I’ve had a vision of that poor plumber in my head when I sit down to write a complex water story. … Delta advocate Jan McCleery doesn’t seem intimidated by the task. In fact, she recently wrote a children’s book about California water. … ”  Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  A fable that ought to sound familiar

New local groundwater rules attempt to get out in front of California’s groundwater legislation: Jeff Simonetti writes, “We have all heard of the Gold Rush in the State of California. In recent years, however, a new kind of “gold rush” has taken over the state – the rush for new water supplies. As the drought continues into its 4th year unabated, farmers are scrambling to drill new and deeper wells into the ground. However, these farmers face serious new challenges in their quest to secure new water supplies.  The first challenge is that underground water supplies across the state continue to dwindle. … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  New local groundwater rules attempt to get out in front of California’s groundwater legislation

OID’s CEQA review will change the water game:  Eric Caine writes, “Last year, the Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) pumped a near-record amount of groundwater. Nonetheless, OID General Manager Steve Knell and members of the Board of Directors continue to talk about selling “surplus water.”  By way of planning for continuing drought conditions, that same Board of Directors last Tuesday considered draining Tulloch Lake, where waterfront homes, fishing, and skiing offer residents and visitors some of the best of California’s natural attractions. On the same day, OID Directors also approved a fallowing program that would enable water sales outside the district. … ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen blog here:  OID CEQA review will change the water game

How Southern California’s water agencies are dealing with drought:  “As the state moves into a fourth consecutive year of drought, water conservation continues to be a top priority in helping us stretch California’s water supplies. Southern California has been paving the way to water efficiency for decades, implementing innovative approaches to conserve water. At SCWC’s recent Quarterly Luncheon, the general managers of Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD), San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (SBVMWD), and Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) spoke about the unique steps their agencies are taking to make sure Southern California is more water efficient – not only during this drought but for good. … ”  Read more from the Southern California Water Committee blog here:  How Southern California water agencies are dealing with drought

My Colorado River origin myth: John Fleck writes, “It’s not quite the way I remember it. I suppose it never is.  I’m on a reporting trip. I had some meetings in Phoenix today, then made a freeway dash out to the Colorado River for a few days of journalism-by-wandering-around. I ended up this evening near sundown in Blythe, Calif., dumped my stuff at the motel and headed out to the river to try to find a spot I remembered from my youth.  Blythe is on the California side of the river where Interstate 10 crosses, with a freeway fast food/motel strip and the sort of beleaguered economy you see in the desert ag towns of the Lower Colorado.  ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  My Colorado River origin myth

Knowing and Showing that Companies are Respecting the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation: “The intersection of business, water, and human rights has a contentious past. From protests, to legal battles, to the suspension of business operations, addressing local community conflicts over water and sanitation issues is a business imperative. Last month, the Pacific Institute in its role as part of the Secretariat of the CEO Water Mandate launched the first comprehensive guide to help businesses meet their responsibility to respect the human rights to water and sanitation. The document Guidance for Companies on Respecting the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation: Bringing a Human Rights Lens to Corporate Water Stewardship provides companies with step-by-step guidance to know and to show that they are respecting the rights. ... ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute here: Knowing and Showing that Companies are Respecting the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation

Photo credit: Birds in a tree in the Delta, photo by Maven (Chris Austin).

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About the Blog Round-up: The Blog Round-up is a weekly journey through the wild and varied tapestry of blog commentary, incorporating the good, the bad, the ugly, and sometimes just plain bizarre viewpoints existing on the internet.  Viewpoints expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily my own; inclusion of items here does not imply my endorsement of their positions. Items are chosen to express a wide range of viewpoints, and are added at the editor’s discretion. While posts with obvious factual errors are excluded, please note that no attempt is made on my part to verify or fact check the information bloggers present, so caveat emptor – let the buyer beware.

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